View Full Version : Do you tell them?


tillamook7
12-07-14, 09:44 PM
I had my 13 year old son tested (psych ed) over a year ago and they found that he had some attention issues. I believe they used the BASC. He knows that he has some issues and that he was not designated.

He is now in high school and I see that he is showing almost every "symptom" of having attention issues.

My question is would he be relieved to know that it's "something" or would he feel labeled or defective if he knew?

What has been your experience with your children?

Any advice is welcome.

ccom5100
12-08-14, 12:14 PM
My ds knows he has adhd. It helps him understand why he has trouble focusing and controlling his impulses. Is your son taking any medication or following any protocol to manage his symptoms? Mine knows that his meds (and the petro-chemical free diet we follow) help him to manage his symptoms. I make sure that he is fully educated about his diagnosis and the meds he takes.

MrsNewton
12-09-14, 03:59 AM
I wish someone would have told me, so that I didn't wonder what was wrong with me for so long. Of course, no one knew, so that was part of the problem. ;-)

Corina86
12-09-14, 04:25 AM
I have no kids, but I think it depends. If he's having issues because of his attention problems (at school, making friends, emotional etc), he's going to feel 'defective' anyway. In that case, he should definitely get help. Pretty much everyone gets diagnosed in order to get medication. Other coping methods can be applied even without a diagnosis. If he has no issues and doesn't seem to require medication then I don't really see the point of a taking him to a psychiatrist. Maybe you should talk to your son about this and see how he feels about this. He's old enough to understand what ADHD or any other mental disorder is and his opinion is very relevant on this matter. Personally, I wish I would've gotten my diagnosis when I was a kid/teen, but those were different times in a different country and it simply wasn't possible.

RobboW
12-09-14, 04:48 AM
It's a difficult question and the answer will vary for different children.

Nobody was diagnosed ADHD in my family. I worked out I am ADHD-I just through studying the issue. I see so many signs of it in my four children, father and two brothers, with a mix of varying severity and different combinations. We are all quite different, except maybe me and my older bro who could be my twin mentally.

My children don't want to know about it. My brothers are aware they are different and I think easily see they have ADHD. My father seems blissfully unaware and is possibly the most impaired aside from my younger brother who seems bipolar too. He has known of his issues a long time and used to self medicate with weed. Eventually he realised it was destroying his life and stopped. There's a good reason it's referred to as weed IMO....
Self medicating does NOT work long term.
My second youngest daughter is HIGHLY inattentive, my youngest I fear could turn out bipolar like my younger brother, or maybe she is hyper. She has a very short fuse, wicked temper and extreme anxiety. The older two seem combo inattentive. All of us seem intelligent, just quite flawed. I think I did the best academically. Be interesting to see how the children go long term. I think our eldest, only son will be least impaired.

TygerSan
12-10-14, 07:59 AM
My vote would be for full disclosure, in an age-appropriate way, perhaps with the help of the person making the diagnosis. If you're to the point where you're having the kid tested, that generally means that they are having some difficulties.

Kids are pretty perceptive. I would guess that often a child will wonder why they're having a hard time, or even why they are going to the doctor/therapist. If you don't addresses those issues (or your child doesn't ask because they see you not talking about it and conclude that it's a taboo subject) they may come up with some rather bizarre and untrue conclusions about the whole situation.

Personally, I'd rather my kid/parent/relative know and come to terms with a diagnosis that wander around in the dark. Sometimes people come up with their own labels for themselves. Those are rarely positive (freak, stupid head, lazy, ineffective, crazy) and almost never constructive.

I should also add that the bulk of my experience with this was personal. Ive had a label of some sort since kindergarten, and I honestly don't remember not knowing, and if you're worried that a label will pigeon hole a child, I would not say that it is impossible, but I do think that having the child understand their own strengths and weaknesses as best they can is a good antidote.

tillamook7
12-10-14, 01:37 PM
Thanks for all your responses. I just told him this morning. Again, he's not officially diagnosed. When he was tested a few years ago it was noted but he wasn't designated. I just see, as I mentioned that he seems like a textbook case.

He didn't react well. I think he equated it immediately with autism and he has a classmate who is autistic. I think it scared him. Of course they are very different things but any challenge I think (for him) is filed in one folder.

I showed him the list of how it affects a person in school and said that this seems like exactly the challenges he's facing. There are step by step tools that will help him cope with these challenges and I explained that I saw figuring this out as a great thing and that I thought he might be relieved.

Perhaps he'll come around.

He's very frustrating. :( I need a parenting coach. Is there an OD board here?

Codykins
12-12-14, 03:36 PM
I told my son when he was 7 and we talk about it all the time. It helped him understand his own symptoms. IMO I think it is important for many reasons, they need to know and understand plus I am a firm believer that "knowledge is power". Also, my son (now 13) has learned ways to help him (besides his meds). Now that he is older he understands the need for skills to help him like; organization, preparation and motivation. Maybe showing your son other people he recognizes might help him to not being so scared of ADHD, attention issues. Here's a list of famous people with ADHD (http://www.parenting.com/print/363429). Does he like to read? This is a good book for teens: Take Control of ADHD: The Ultimate Guide for Teens With ADHD by Ruth Spodak and Kenneth Stefano.

Zoom Dude
12-12-14, 11:09 PM
I learned about my ADHD (inattentive? don't know what they call it these days) when I was in my 50's and my son was diagnosed with it. I had no clue what ADHD was, but I did know I was different from everyone else to an extent that caused lots of problems. You have no idea what the diagnosis did for me. I saw my entire life in an entirely different - and clearer - context. Every memory took on a new meaning.

Just knowing that there was a reason I was so different finally allowed me to see how and why and begin to truly bridge the gap. In my 50's.

Had I only known. How different my life would be.

I thought my son would recognize what a gift it is to know, but like yours he doesn't want to hear about it. There can be a lot of reasons. I think one big one might be that at that age they are so wound up about things being "fair". And ADHD is so not fair.

You did the right thing. He may not like it, but I guarantee the alternative is worse. My advice is to always be supportive (though that will be quite difficult at times) and to treat his ADHD as a given, a fact of life as self-evident and accepted as the sun coming up every day. He will resist. Be relentless in your recognition of the obviousness of it all. It will sink in eventually.

One thing that helps me in ssslllooooooowwwwwwlllllyyyyy bringing my son around is that I can relate to his condition directly when all the NTs (neuro-typical or "normal") around him cannot. Trust me, they will be a source of pain, no matter how well-intentioned. If you and your spouse do not have ADHD and a relative does, strengthening that relationship could be helpful.

I would also advise you to learn all you can and make use of that knowledge in ways he can relate to. For example, it is widely believed among those who study ADHD that Einstein, Franklin, Edison, Churchill and Mozart all had it. ADHD is not a gift by any means in an overall sense, but knowing how it makes you different and playing on your strengths can lead to a very fulfilling life. Refusing to acknowledge it, understand it and deal with it can only end badly.

Best of luck,
ZD

sarahsweets
12-13-14, 08:34 AM
Mine all were told when they were mature enough to understand.

MrsMoMo
01-14-15, 11:55 AM
I've been open with my son about it since he was diagnosed at 6 years old. He's now about to turn 8 and he understands more about it as he gets older. He knows he has ADHD and that is why focusing, attention, impulsiveness is hard for him sometimes. He knows that his medication helps make this easier for him. We also talk about how the medication helps but that it's important for him to also put the effort into managing his emotions, paying attention in class, and getting his work done. The ADHD is not a "get out of jail free card" that we use to excuse behavior that is within his control or that he can work on. I definitely do give more leeway and understanding though, especially when I know he is trying his best. I believe that knowledge is empowering and that ADHD is not something to be shameful of. By talking openly about it, this tells him that it's perfectly OK to have ADHD and there is nothing "wrong" about him. We medicate to alleviate symptoms, not cure it, so that we get the best out of him. I treat our openness about his ADHD the same way I do any other medical ailment, this is no different. He also wears glasses and to me, it's no different. I would never hide it from him - even though he is still a child, he has every right to know what is going on inside his body (with age-appropriate information of course).

bwalwayswins
03-21-15, 09:50 PM
my son knows he has adhd and that he takes medicine to help him focus in school.

now that is the pat answer - BUT his adhd makes this knowledge come and go - he may not always remember that he has adhd...he knows he takes a medication but can he answer WHAT the medicine is for ALL the time - no. thats a symptom of his adhd.

im not even sure what to call adhd. i don't want to call it his 'problem'...i don't want to infer he has a 'problem' - because lots of issues with adhd - isn't them -its societal, society says you need to sit still, not talk over people, get good grades, etc and so on....adhd is more like his personality or who he is...and i don't want to insinuate that who he is - is wrong or a problem. i don't like that eventually he will figure that out whether we say it or not. i guess he can connect the dots there... if not now - eventually. i wish the world would get more understanding of all the different types of people there are and stop acting like there is only a few varieties of acceptable.

i also tell him the medicine doesn't "fix" him because he's not sick or broken. The medicine is a helper - ADHD makes every thing interesting - and its hard to focus on 1 thing during school when EVERYTHING is interesting.

rickymooston
03-21-15, 11:37 PM
but can he answer WHAT the medicine is for ALL the time - no. thats a symptom of his adhd.


If he is very very young, sure


im not even sure what to call adhd. i don't want to call it his 'problem'


Read the books attention difference disorder and driven to destraction. THey may give it insight

I rather like the glasses analogy. How do you tell somebody they are short sighted?


...i don't want to infer he has a 'problem' - because lots of issues with adhd - isn't them -its societal, society says you need to sit still, not talk over people, get good grades, etc and so on....


He has a learning disability but again, you will love the book attention difference disorder.

I prefer the term "difference" for the reasons you discuss about adapting to
the condition somewhat but I am not medicated. My dealing with ADHD was
adapting (and failing multiple times in a variety of ways, lol).

I have a computer science degree and I do software development.

Several of my "issues" are pretty severe. My disorganization was so bad that
i pretty well avoid collecting stuff. I threw out over 1000 books before getting married. Still drive my wife nuts in multiple ways.

bwalwayswins
03-21-15, 11:49 PM
he is 8...not sure if that is very young. I think its how interested he is - decides if he remembers. Sometimes (rarely) he is very interested in himself and how he is outwardly perceived. Most of the time - he doesn't outwardly care how he is outwardly perceived. if that makes any sense.

i worry because i would call it a learning disability - but i don't think its classified as a learning disability - it always seems to be called a mental illness in everything i read. which bugs me to no end. not sure why, mental illness, emotional problem, behavior issues, learning disability - all makes it seem like my son is broken (albeit only slightly) but still its like saying he's less..and i don't think that. but i do realize i am his mom and i tend to think he is perfect and wonderful most of the time.
lol

so, maybe it would be better to tell him that ALL people are imperfect and some imperfections are more obvious than others... i d k. yeah, i should probably read some books on this subject.

rickymooston
03-22-15, 01:31 PM
he is 8

I don't believe his long term memory is likely to be significantly
impaired by his ADHD for something as constant as that. However,
there could be cases where he really doesn't feel like saying it's for his
ADHD; he could sense something "annoying" about it. What I'm claiming is,
I don't believe his long term memory is impaired by ADHD, assuming
that he doesn't have some other co-morbid condition, I'd imagine his
long term memory could very well be "normal".

If he is 8 and just diagnosed, "sure", maybe I can believe that he genuinely
forgets but my 40 year old friend takes his schitzophrenia medication to
"help him sleep". In the later's case, the stigma associated with what is
really being treated probably contributes to his "forgetting".


i worry because i would call it a learning disability ... it seem like my son
is broken


I think, you have to adjust your attitude here slightly. Sorry to be honest because I can see some constructiveness as well in your attitude.
I have a learning disability but I can accomplish things you probably
(I'm going statistically here as you may be Einstein for all I know) cannot.

If I am short-sighted, am I broken? No, I simply need glasses to allow
me to read. Do I have a visual disability. I have a friend, my former
mentor who is actually blind. He has a disability but certainly he isn't
broken. (Please note: I am not telling you how he needs to adapt. Whether
by medication or other things or (like most) a combo. What I'm saying is,
you have to work with a problem and to do so, you have to acknowledge
it exists without passing judgement on him.)

So, just be honest with him. He is different. He has certain things that
he is better at than others and certain things that are hard for him.

Take me for instance (note: lots of variation among ADHDers)
Easy - I am a very strong high level thinker. I pick up concepts extremely
fast. I'm great at abstraction.
Easy - I have a good memory for things that interest me
Hard - I have a really hard time getting organized. It is pretty scary.
Hard - It took coaching for me to learn "obvious" things about social interaction. For example, am I interupting somebody? Am I paying attention
to whether they are interested? Am I dominating the conversation?
Hard - I sucked at doing arithmetic and other menial boring tasks but
I have higher than average math skills.
Hard - I'm an expert at losing things and yes my short term memory
sucks really badly. If something is boring, I won't remember. If I do
multiple things, I probably will forget one.
...

On the bright side, I see you being ultimately successfull here. Focus
on the word difference but understand it is still o.k. to acknowledge
it is a disability. Nobody is good at everything. He won't likely be
an accountant but he could become a math professor IMO.

bwalwayswins
03-22-15, 08:41 PM
I don't believe his long term memory is likely to be significantly
impaired by his ADHD for something as constant as that. However,
there could be cases where he really doesn't feel like saying it's for his
ADHD; he could sense something "annoying" about it. What I'm claiming is,
I don't believe his long term memory is impaired by ADHD, assuming
that he doesn't have some other co-morbid condition, I'd imagine his
long term memory could very well be "normal".

If he is 8 and just diagnosed, "sure", maybe I can believe that he genuinely
forgets but my 40 year old friend takes his schitzophrenia medication to
"help him sleep". In the later's case, the stigma associated with what is
really being treated probably contributes to his "forgetting".



I think, you have to adjust your attitude here slightly. Sorry to be honest because I can see some constructiveness as well in your attitude.
I have a learning disability but I can accomplish things you probably
(I'm going statistically here as you may be Einstein for all I know) cannot.

If I am short-sighted, am I broken? No, I simply need glasses to allow
me to read. Do I have a visual disability. I have a friend, my former
mentor who is actually blind. He has a disability but certainly he isn't
broken. (Please note: I am not telling you how he needs to adapt. Whether
by medication or other things or (like most) a combo. What I'm saying is,
you have to work with a problem and to do so, you have to acknowledge
it exists without passing judgement on him.)



his memory is greatly affected by adhd. so is my 46 year old husbands. thats a huge part of it.

and I never said my son is broken. I said saying that insinuates he is broken, and I don't feel that way.

if you re-read your reply - you seem to be inferring i said he was broken (when i didn't) and telling me I need to acknowledge he has a problem...which why do you think I don't?

Mystified....

CanadianDad
06-08-15, 03:16 PM
My son is just about to turn 7, and I'm not sure he's quite there yet in being able to understand what the diagnosis means. We tell him that we understand that he has problems sometimes paying attention and getting his sillyness (in the evenings) under control, and he knows he takes some medicine in the morning, but I don't think he's put two and two together yet. In about another year or so we will have that conversation, I think it's important, especially since he'll become more aware of the differences between him and other kids his age, but we'll make sure that he knows it's not a "get-out-of-jail-free" card on bad behaviour he can control vs. his symptoms. That's been a tough balance to get right recently with him only starting meds three months back and us trying to find the right dosage. We're working with the teacher and doctor to try and determine if possible inattention one or the other, while keeping his dosage and med type correct. I get the feeling this will be an ongoing struggle :umm1:

Roundmouth
09-14-15, 07:13 PM
So far my kids don't seem to have any problems, and at their age, neither had I. But if things change to the worse, I'll try to help without using psychiatric terms. It's okay being different and some people need to find alternative strategies. They already seem to be aware of some differences between people, for example that there are things like extroverted people out there - and that extroverts aren't necessarily bad people or disabled...